Any discussion of the current free agent spending frenzy in the NBA must begin with the new salary cap. The salary cap is making a massive increase from $70 million to about $95 million for the 2016-2017 season. When you pair this with the size of an NBA roster (13 players) you’re going to see some wacky dollar figures thrown around. With this in mind, the two signings the Milwaukee Bucks made on Friday are actually sensible.
The big splash came in the form of a 4 year, $38.4 million offer sheet extended to point guard Matthew Dellavedova. The defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers will have a opportunity to match this offer, but considering LeBron James – who essentially runs the Cavs – wished Dellavedova “Good luck in Milwaukee” on Twitter, that is unlikely to happen.
Dellavedova is known for his consistent intensity, which is something the Bucks often lacked last season. This intensity occasionally goes too far and angers opponents. Consequently, Dellavedova is not always an easy player to root for (of course, he’s more tolerable if he plays on your favorite team). Though Delly only averaged 7.5 points and 4.4 assists per game last season, the Bucks need depth at point guard behind Giannis Antetokounmpo.
While it’s crazy that a backup point guard will make as much money as Jordy Nelson, within the context of the current NBA it’s a perfectly reasonable contract.
On the subject of reasonable contracts: the Bucks also reached a 3-year, $30 million verbal agreement with Mirza Teletovic of the Phoenix Suns. Milwaukee needs another shooter to space the floor and the 30-year old power forward from Bosnia and Herzegovina fills that role. Teletovic made 39% of his threes last season and converted more attempts from behind the arc (181) than Khris Middleton (143), the leading long-range shooter on the Bucks.
The Bucks are a better team with Dellavedova and Teletovic on their roster. More importantly, their contracts (assuming they don’t fall through) will not cripple the Bucks if it turns out they signed a pair of lemons. This also leaves the Bucks with enough cap space to make a run a Dwyane Wade.